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Joe Rogan Calls Video Games a “Real Problem” and a “Waste of Time”

Having fun is a problem now, apparently.

Credit: YouTube/PowerfulJRE

It’s a tale as old as the NES: video game companies release new titles, and concerned parents fear the long-lasting effects this medium may have on their children’s psyche. Now, Joe Rogan weighs in on the issue.

Rogan’s podcast show ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ boasts almost 10 million youtube subscribers and well over 1000 episodes. In Rogan’s latest episode #1514 (guest-starring Joe De Sena), the pair discussed video games and shared their take on the issue: that they’re a detriment to personal discipline and society as a whole.

Watch the full podcast right here:

Amongst other comments, Rogan notably remarks that: 

“Video games are a real problem […] because they’re fucking fun […] you do them, and they’re real exciting, but you don’t get anywhere.” 

Rogan then carries on to explain that while some manage to make a career in eSports:

“You have to be adaptable, you have to be able to play multiple video games because the one video game you get really good at- what are the odds that’s going to be around 5 years from now?”

So is there any truth to Rogan’s claims? Well, contrary to popular belief, eSports date back several decades and aren’t, in fact, a product of gaming’s modern cultural evolution. The first-ever eSports event took place in 1972 at Stamford University, with more major events following as early as the 1990s with cash prizes of up to $15,000 (worth around $35,000 today when adjusting for inflation). Industry growth only accelerated from there, with the rise of social media, streaming platforms, and merchandise sales, and can only grow further as this phenomenon further permeates through mainstream consciousness. 

And as for Rogan’s cautionary message of eSports’ high turnover rate for games? Well, his own example that pro players “don’t make money off ‘Quake’” anymore is false. In fact, a major Quake event is scheduled to take place next month with a cash prize of $150,000.

On some level, I understand what Rogan is trying to say. Physical exercise and ambition are important values to maintain, and excess in any area can be a bad thing. However, his criticisms still come across wholly un-nuanced. Rogan creates an unfair dichotomy: on one end, there are those who indulge in video games and are fat, undisciplined, and unsuccessful. On the other end, those who resist the succubine call of video games grow up to be physically fit, successful, and disciplined. 

Many studies have already proven that video games can actually have positive effects on a range of cognitive skills. And, personally, Rogan’s decision to use his sizeable platform to shame those finding escapism in gaming mid-pandemic seems misguided at best.

Besides, I’m hesitant to take discipline advice from someone who, not 10 minutes after his video game discussion, laughed at his co-host’s story of how he deceived parents into sending him their kids and “[stuck them] in a freezing cold river until somebody crie[d]”. Yeah, that’s not going to teach anyone discipline

While video games may be a divisive issue, I think we can all stand united in our confusion (and… hunger?) at the latest contender to enter next generation’s console wars- check it out right here!

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